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08-27-2013, 10:18 AM   #1
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F 35-70mm or DA 18-55 for K-01 - optical quality

I am enjoying my K-01 with the DA limited lenses 15, 21, 40, and 70mm. But sometimes I want to have the convenience of a short zoom for times when I don't want or can't change lenses easily. Because I'm using the K-01, I want a very light and compact zoom lens, so I'm ruling out the 17-70s, 17-50s, 18-250s, and even (for the moment) the 18-135. Which leaves me with the cheap (always welcome) and light kit lens 18-55 (either DA-L or WR versions) or maybe the F 35-70 of which I've read excellent reviews and see for sale at very good prices. Actually, both these options are about the same price used. I know the DA kit lens is more of a walkaround lens with the wider field of view but I really like to shoot in the 40-70mm range, so maxing out at 55mm may not be ideal, plus I've read that the 18-55 is weakest at the long end. If I went for the F 35-70, I could easily carry around the 21mm for the occasional need to go wide on a walkabout with my camera.

So if anyone has experience using both the 18-55 kit lens (DA-L, ver II, or WR models), and the smc-F 35-70mm, particularly on the K-01, could you chime in on which one is a better performer: (1) optically (sharpness, colors, flare resistance), and (2) mechanically (autofocus speed, build quality). I'm probably leaning towards the 35-70 based on user reviews that rave about it, but I think the 18-55 could also be good, especially since it's a newer design, optimized for digital, and has modern lens coating.

Thanks for any comments and suggestions!

08-27-2013, 10:21 AM   #2
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The 35-70 has better image quality and autofocus speed than the DAL 18-55. It's smaller and more solid built. You'll need a hood, it doesn't come with one.

Downsides are: 18-35mm is a very useful range to have. 35mm can be quite tight when shooting indoors and also trying to take picture of buildings.
08-27-2013, 11:02 AM   #3
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Another vote for the 35-70. I like mine enough I got rid of the 18-55. Besides image quality being better in my opinion...I really like the 'macro' (close focus) of the 35-70.
08-27-2013, 11:06 AM   #4
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The 35-70 will have better IQ, but 35mm is not very wide as a walkaround FL.

08-27-2013, 11:56 AM   #5
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The 35-70 has excellent image quality for the price it normally sells for used. Build quality, though, might be worse than the DA 18-55 WR, but better than the DA-L 18-55. So it may depend on what 18-55 you're considering. Also, if you get the 18-55 WR or 18-55 II, you get quickshift capability which obviously the old 35-70 lacks.

So, besides optical quality, what will you find more useful? the 18-35mm range? or 55-70mm? Also, the 35-70's "macro" capability can be handy in a pinch, but then again the 18-55 can also focus pretty closely as well.
08-27-2013, 11:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
You'll need a hood, it doesn't come with one.
Agreed with this advice. The 35-70 needs a hood because it is a bit flare-prone. DA 18-55 WR or DA 18-55 II comes with a hood, but DA-L 18-55 does not.
08-27-2013, 11:58 AM   #7
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How about FA 28-105mm F/3.2-4.5? A very light, surprisingly small, reasonably fast lens with great colors, decent reach, and to me, a usable wide-end (28mm). I have an Adaptall 35-70mm and the Pentax-A 35-105mm and when I leave with those lenses on the camera, they never stay on very long because 35mm is just not wide-enough. But give me 28mm, and I can shoot with that, and zoom with my feet *most* of the time. (I'd really like to have the FA 24-90mm F/3.5-4.5, but it always seems to go for way too much money.) BTW, there's a 28-105 available right now on Ebay for a very reasonable price. (I have no link with the seller whatsoever, and no clue as to his trustworthiness.)
08-27-2013, 12:06 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
Agreed with this advice. The 35-70 needs a hood because it is a bit flare-prone. DA 18-55 WR or DA 18-55 II comes with a hood, but DA-L 18-55 does not.
Not entirely sure what the case may be, but when I bought my k-x with the DAL, it came with a hood. I remember it distinctly because it had the removable filter slot thing.

08-27-2013, 12:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the helpful suggestions and feedback. I might look into the F-35-70mm or FA 28-105. I haven't considered the 28-105 before because it's pretty rare on the used market, whereas 35-70's and 18-55's are plentiful. But I agree 28mm is very handy to have, and zooming up to 105 at f/4.5 is impressive, for a lens that is very compact and lightweight--which meets one of my criteria for pairing with my K-01. Still, the 28-105 doesn't get very strong reviews from forum members...
08-27-2013, 12:13 PM   #10
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If it's convenience you're looking for, and you're used to using mirrorless; have you considered getting a Q with the standard zoom?
08-27-2013, 12:18 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by manacho2005 Quote
If it's convenience you're looking for, and you're used to using mirrorless; have you considered getting a Q with the standard zoom?
Hmm, interesting. No, not at all. I was actually looking at going the other way someday, up to a real DSLR, because sometimes my K-01's autofocus isn't fast enough to keep up when my dog is running around like crazy. It's fine when he's just sitting there or sleeping, though. So assuming I move up to a K-30/50, etc., I'd like to keep building my K-mount lens collection...

But the Q7 has kind of caught my eye with its larger sensor...
08-27-2013, 12:23 PM   #12
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mmmmm I own both lenses and think the DA18-55WR is better than the F35-70. The latter does have a faster autofocus, smaller, slightly faster aperture. But the 18-55 has an edge on IQ, better range for a DSLR, is weather sealed and has a better macro / close focusing capability.

I changed the 18-55 for the 16-50 and use the F35-70 for a cheaper, stealthier combo
08-27-2013, 12:26 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by carrrlangas Quote
mmmmm I own both lenses and think the DA18-55WR is better than the F35-70.
Hmm, based on the very small sample size in this thread so far, you are in the minority on this view. But I guess sample variation can come into play as well. Because both lenses are so cheap to acquire, maybe I should get both of them and see which one is better for my purposes, and then sell the other one?!
08-27-2013, 12:36 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by yellowbrick Quote
Because both lenses are so cheap to acquire, maybe I should get both of them and see which one is better for my purposes, and then sell the other one?!
Not a bad strategy considering how cheap both lenses cost, but the harsh mistress that is LBA may well force you to keep both ...
08-27-2013, 12:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
when I bought my k-x with the DAL, it came with a hood.
hmm, you must have just been lucky then. My K-x came with a DA-L but no hood. And I'm pretty sure that's one of the drawbacks of the DA-L line compared with the DA versions-- no quickshift, plastic mount, and no hood included.
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